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Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head, Dread Goddess, lay thy chast'ning hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad, Nor circled with the vengeful band, (As by the impious thou art seen) With thund'ring voice and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty. Thy form benign, Oh, Goddess! wear; Thy milder influence impart ; Thy philosophic train be there, To soften, not to wound my heart. Thy gen'rous spark, extinct, revive; Teach me to love and to forgive: Exact my own defects to scan; What others are, to feel; and know myself a man:
XIV. The Passions.--An Ode.
WHEN Music, heavenly maid! was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her shell, Throng'd around her magic cell; Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting. By turns, they felt the glowing mind Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd: Till once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd, Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd, From the supporting myrtles round, They snatch'd her instruments of sound; And, as they oft had heard apart, Sweet lessons of her forceful art, Each, (for madness rul'd the hour) Would prove his own expressive power. First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid; And back recoil'd, he know not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made. Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own'd his secret stings, In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurry'd hand the strings. With woful measures, wan Despair
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd: A solemn, strange, and mingled air:
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure!
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.
Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on Echo still through all her song:
And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope, enchanted, smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair;
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down;
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of wo;
And, ever and anon, he beat
The doubling drum with. furious heat:
And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side,
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight-seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd;
Sad proof of thy distressful state:
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd:
And, now it courted Love; now, raving, call'd on Hate.
With eyes uprais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd;
And, from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes, by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul,
And dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms, the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,
(Round an holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace, and lonely musing)
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, Oh, how alter'd was it sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known;
The oak crown'd Sisters, and their chaste ey'd Queen,
Satyrs and sylvan Boys were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
Brown Exercise rejoic'd to hear;
And Sport leap'd up and seiz'd his beechen spear.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial,
He with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand address'd-
But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol;
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best.
They would have thought who heard the strain,
They saw in Tempe's vale, her native maids,
Amidst the festal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing:
While as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love fram'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound)
And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.
I.-Milton's Lamentation for the Loss of his Sight.
HAIL, holy light! offspring of heaven first born! Or of th' Eternal, co-eternal beam! May I express thee unbalm'd? since God is light, And never, but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity-dwelt then in thee, Bright effluence of bright essence increate. Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight,
Through utter, and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes, than to the Orphean lyre,
sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovereign vital lamp-but thou
Revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt,
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with love of sacred song--but chief
Thee, Zion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit--nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides;
And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers-as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus, with the
Seasons return-but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surround me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with an universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom, at one entrance, quite shut out.
So much the rather, thou, celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind, through all her powers,
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence,
Purge and disperse; that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
II.-L'Allegro, or the Merry Man,
HENCE, loathed Melancholy!
Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night-raven sings,
There under ebon shades, and low brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne!
And, by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
With two sister-graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore.
Hast thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity.
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods and becks, and wreathed smiles;
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And laughter holding both his sides.
Come and trip it as you go
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee,
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty-
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free :
To hear the lark begin its flight,
And, singing, startle the dull Night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweetbriar or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn,
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill : .
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, or hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
While the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower wets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, Whilst the landskip round it measures; Russet lawns and fallows gray, Where the nibbling flocks do stray; Mountains on whose barren breast The lab'ring clouds do often rest; Meadows trim, with daisies pied; Shallow brooks, and rivers wide; Towers and battlements it sees Bosom'd high in tufted trees, Where, perhaps, some beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. Hard by a cottage chimney smokes, From betwixt two aged oaks, Where Corydon and Thyrsis met, Are at their savoury dinner set, Of herbs and other country messes, Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; And then, in haste, her bower she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;